Note from My Grandmother: Spit Out the Pacifier

Published in Long Island Business News

Lately, I’ve heard business leaders complain about the economy, trouble attracting pink pacifier hanging on tree branchhigh-paying customers, a lack of skilled workers, employees not pulling their weight and taxes as reasons for business not doing well.

It’s time for Long Island business leaders to realize that we – not the government or anyone else – are responsible for the future of work and life on Long Island. We must take action to protect the amazing ecosystem of resources available to the business community here instead of merely complaining and wishing for change. As my grandmother would have said: “It’s time to spit out the pacifier and get back to work.”

My grandmother grew up during the Great Depression. She raised my father on her own by working long days as a seamstress. She was paid pennies for each garment she sewed. She didn’t watch the clock. Instead, she stopped working when her fingers were raw and bleeding from being struck by the sewing needle. She never complained or blamed anyone else.

Eventually she earned enough money to purchase a Brooklyn brownstone. Some people say that it’s more difficult today. I don’t think that my grandmother would agree – I don’t either.

Long Island business leaders have access to better resources than almost anywhere else in the country. We have an educated, world-class workforce with access to universities, four-year colleges, community colleges and technical institutions. We have the ability to monetize our ideas with access to capital and resources others only dream about. All we have to do is accept responsibility and take action to grow our businesses and train our employees.

Align yourself and your business with other growth-oriented business leaders, those who aspire to change the cult of negativity into a positive force for business transformation. It might be difficult; you may need to stop doing business with the complainers.

My grandmother would have said, “Stop hanging around with those boys, they’re nothing but trouble,” and she would have been correct. Instead look for business groups and organizations that have a vested interest in helping their members become stronger leaders. They are there, I promise, if you just look.

Long Island businesses are the keys to Long Island’s future and it is time to stop complaining and get back to work, smarter and harder, to build our future.